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Thread: I Think I'm Really Going To Do It This Time

  1. #106
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    reno,nevada
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksmom0611 View Post
    I was hoping to return to work around 8 weeks, but that is so not going to happen!

    Question to the group - what were your walking capabilities at what time post-op?
    I don’t think any adult over 45 has done this, at least not on this forum. 3 months yes, a nurse, and her posts about that experience years ago, were pure agony. Its just not worth trying to push that hard because it only sets you back......You only get one chance at this and It takes a long time for bone to fuse. (12 months, in the text books) You don’t want to fall, or jolt, or step off a curb wrong while healing......If you cut your finger and then a week later hit it with a hammer, it will heal in time, it just takes longer.....I took 18 months off from going into the office. I did everything online from the house and with the telephone which nobody likes to use anymore.....Poor Alexander Graham Bell....telephone was a great invention for 120 years, now nobody like’s it anymore. At dinner tonight, I will text the next person “Sweetheart, can you pass the wine please, love you!”.

    Walking for me was 2-3 houses and back, several times a day, and plenty of pacing in the house. It took me a year to get up to a mile, and I “was” in excellent shape from skiing. I think my massive anterior surgery,(ALIF) having a broken shoulder, and gall stone problems added more time to my recovery. Yes, I felt better as time passed, but my pain before my surgeries was mind blowing. I cant believe I fought it that long.....If I had to do my scolisis surgeries all over again, I would do it at age 40. My surgeon repeated to me several times “Why did you wait so long?” I didn’t think I needed to answer that one.

    After the surgeries, I walked on eggshells for a long time. My surgeon actually ordered me to go skiing at 12 months. Doctors orders you know. (smiley face) We also talked about the crashes since its part of skiing......no velocity, and no more airs, you can crack a fusion..... I have old threads here that include old photos and video of me skiing and hiking in some of the fantastic National Parks and ski areas of our country.

    I don’t think my spinal outcome could have happened any better giving the circumstances. I am 100% satisfied. I didn’t think it would have turned out so well, maybe that wasn’t the way I should have felt about the whole thing.....??? We think about complications and what can or could happen, it’s a natural feeling, but probably not great for the mental side of things, but also acted as a protective mechanism as far as healing is concerned.

    I feel I was 90% recovered at a year......a rough sort of healing rate of 10% per month, that came in bumps. No improvement for 2 months, then a 20% instant improvement. See-saw type good days and bad, with more good days of course. That’s how you know you are recovering! The second year was my fine tuning year where I had to push harder as an athlete and that wasn’t easy. Fatigue lasted for around 2 years, and boy do I miss those naps.

    I have always thought of medications as temporary aids......They mask pain, and help heal, but in the long run they can create ALL sorts of problems... It’s a goal to quit, it is, and if you can, do just that. You will save yourself plenty of heartburn. Pain is an adaptable, I know, I endured massive amounts of it for years.....Recovery includes HEALING pains, I figured that it wasn’t all that bad and that the meds were complicating the systems in my body “and” mind, and emotional thoughts do trigger pain from a neurological standpoint....Think pain, and that’s exactly what you get. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken with diversion. I figured its worth a shot, and it works, I’ve done that study. Soaking in hot water helps in this regard.

    You guys are doing great....

    Hang in there

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  2. #107
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    New York
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    Thank you so much for your encouraging and (as always) humorous remarks. It's good to know things will keep improving for a while!

  3. #108
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Arizona
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    9 Weeks Post-op & My Big Milestone

    I ditched the narcotics this week. I had been down to just one vicodin daily for about a week and finding it extremely useful to take first thing in the morning as I tended to hurt the most then and once it took effect, I would do my daily walk; sort of my motivation. I knew this needed to happen because 1) I promised myself I would stop before returning to work and 2) it's a healthier way to live. Unlike many of you, I was on pain meds for many years prior to surgery; it was my rescue medicine at the end of the day or on weekends, I would take it in order to get things done like housework/gardening. I never had any injections, just the pain meds and massage to cope. It wasn't just narcotics, they came later, but a succession of different meds, including Vioxx, which was really working for me but was taken off the market a while back.

    In retrospect, the drugs bought me time, but at a price. Time is NOT on your side when contemplating this surgery in adulthood. I have no regrets on having the surgery now, but really it would have been better done years ago.

    So this was a huge step for me. It's been a week of emotional ups and downs but not terrible. I was really up yesterday, but feel really down today for no reason. I am not pain free by any means, but what I have now is not surgical pain, just muscle spasms in various places. So I'm using Tylenol (hope I'm not damaging my liver) and laying down a lot to manage the spasms. Still doing my am walk but spending a lot of time in bed. Trying to be as good as possible to myself during this period and not push myself in other areas.

    On the plus side, I actually looked at my work email for the first time since surgery and made a few work related phone calls. I think I'll be ready to go back 50% at 12 weeks, but if not, I don't have to. Also, I drove for the first time since surgery. As a treat, I went to the dermatologist and had a facial and I'm a little peely now. I'd love to go to the mall and try on dresses, but the thought of bringing along my grabber to dress puts a stop to that idea!

    Thoughts on the importance of walking - my surgeon told me he wanted me walking 1 1/2 miles at my 6 week follow up. I was able to do this but realize it is not possible for everybody. But if you are contemplating surgery, please consider your climate and plan your recovery during a time of year when it is pleasant for you to walk outside. It's lovely here right now but I still have to push myself every day to do it. If it wasn't nice, I am sure I would not be walking so much. And I see walking as physical therapy and really think about it the whole time I am walking. I let gravity push me into my new lumbar lordosis, which still isn't entirely natural feeling and try and remember to hold my head up straight and not look down. As I walk, I think about extending my weight bearing leg so it stretches out straight behind me and consciously push off with the balls of my feet, instead of shuffling along flat footed. This really helped me with stretching out my quads, which were so tight and sore for a long time.

    I am the SLOWEST walker at the park and take fairly small steps compared to everybody who is there for fitness. But this is not meant to be an aerobic exercise. It's meant to be a weight bearing exercise. I'm walking anywhere from 1.5 to 2 miles daily, just depends on my route as I try and mix it up. I feel no need to increase my distance as this is still quite a workout. Well, I am going to go and lay down now.
    Before 39* lumbar at age 18, progressed to 74* lumbar and 22* thoracic age 55
    ALIF Jan 13, 2015, PLIF Jan 15, 2015 with Dr William Stevens, Honor Health
    Fused T-7 to S-1 with pelvic fixation

    After 38* lumbar

    Xrays
    Before: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...7&d=1414268930

    After: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...6&d=1424894360

  4. #109
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,797
    Congratulations!! It is no small task to get off narcotics when you've been on them for a long time. It's a BIG deal.

    Good luck in getting back to work. Hope you make your goal, but if you don't, you know that you'll come close. I missed my goal by about 3 weeks. For a moment, it was a bit of a disappointment, but it was just a reminder that we're not always in complete control.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  5. #110
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Southern CA
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    Congratulations on getting off the narcotics, I was off of them In January but had to go back on them again.

    I am thinking of going off but not now.

    Glad that you could do it

    Melissa
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  6. #111
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Arizona
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    Congratulations!! It is no small task to get off narcotics when you've been on them for a long time. It's a BIG deal.

    Good luck in getting back to work. Hope you make your goal, but if you don't, you know that you'll come close. I missed my goal by about 3 weeks. For a moment, it was a bit of a disappointment, but it was just a reminder that we're not always in complete control.

    --Linda
    How did you know you were not ready to go back to work at 3 months? I can sit pretty well for a couple of hours at a time and my job allows me to leave my desk and move around at will. The commute will be a challenge, I think, however. It's hard to plan ahead for this.
    Before 39* lumbar at age 18, progressed to 74* lumbar and 22* thoracic age 55
    ALIF Jan 13, 2015, PLIF Jan 15, 2015 with Dr William Stevens, Honor Health
    Fused T-7 to S-1 with pelvic fixation

    After 38* lumbar

    Xrays
    Before: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...7&d=1414268930

    After: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...6&d=1424894360

  7. #112
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
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    1,161
    Hi,

    I had to return to work at 14 weeks post-op my original surgery, then at 12 weeks post major revision, due to financial and job concerns. I was also getting bored, lonely, and isolated at home, even though I have a wonderful family. I am a nurse in a busy cardiac cath lab and with great difficulty I was able to negotiate going back to work on seated/limited duty for several months. I did not feel ready, but I really had no choice. It was extremely exhausting and painful to be back at work. Yes, I could get up and walk around every hour or two, but the pace was very stressful, and I was very sore. I had nowhere to lay down during the day, and sitting was still not very comfortable. I too was off all pain meds early, like you, and I took Tylenol 3 times a day for at least another year. The time commitment of work also disrupted my schedule of swimming and walking for recovery. I feel that going back to work so early set my recovery back by a solid month at least, probably more. I really felt like I was tough, strong, and determined, and that I should be able to suck it up. Unfortunately recovery doesn't work that way. It takes the time that it takes.

    Please don't be in too big a rush to head back to work. No one gets a prize for going back the soonest! You are recovering from a huge surgery, like being hit by a truck. You only have once chance to have your back heal correctly for the rest of your life. I will always wonder if going back to work too early contributed to my broken rods, which of course I will never know.

    Take good care,
    Last edited by leahdragonfly; 03-22-2015 at 11:37 AM.
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  8. #113
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    112
    Broken rods - I'm so sorry this happened to you. I have thought about this quite a bit, not really because I'm worrying about it at this point, just know it's out there as a possible outcome. Not sure of the chances but maybe about 20% I think.

    Who knows what really causes the lack of fusion. It could be something on the patient side or it could be something the surgeon did or didn't do. With the exception of smoking, I don't think they really know much about what causes failure in a specific person. It sure would be nice to know what really matters.

    I'm a gardener and I know that saplings must be staked against the wind but not too tightly because getting blown about a bit makes the trunk strong. Wonder if that could apply to spines? One of the other reasons I wanted to get off narcotics is that I think having some pain at this stage is a good thing and makes me aware I have limits and shouldn't be doing too much even though I feel pretty good. Narcotics definitely impair my judgement and if it doesn't hurt to do something, what's to stop from bending, etc?

    I think stress of any kind, including going back to work too early could certainly be a factor in inhibiting healing. But if you are stressed by staying home too long because of financial reasons or concerns about keeping a job, that is probably just as stressful as working.

    I'm not so worried about the money aspect, but there is some concern that they will get too used to running the show without me. I don't feel ready to make a final decision, just putting out feelers.
    Before 39* lumbar at age 18, progressed to 74* lumbar and 22* thoracic age 55
    ALIF Jan 13, 2015, PLIF Jan 15, 2015 with Dr William Stevens, Honor Health
    Fused T-7 to S-1 with pelvic fixation

    After 38* lumbar

    Xrays
    Before: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...7&d=1414268930

    After: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...6&d=1424894360

  9. #114
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    766
    I too went back to work way too soon. At 7 weeks. I had a lot of restrictions and thought I could do it but it was the wrong thing to do. It made my first year really rough. If you can you owe it to yourself to take care of just you.

  10. #115
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Grove City, OH
    Posts
    275
    Liz -
    you're doing great with your recovery!! It looks like you're getting some good advice about going back to work.

    Good job of getting off narcotics! I know what you mean about allowing yourself to 'feel' some of the pain or discomfort. It helps me remember that I need to be cautious and slow down!

    I purchased a folding grabber on ebay. It's not very sturdy, but it's handy to take to the Y or into the store. I forgot it today & wanted to try on a pair of pants. A hanger wasn't as efficient, but it worked!
    Peg
    61 yrs old
    75 degree lumbar curve with thoracic kyphosis
    T3 - S1 surgery with Dr. Buchowski in St. Louis, on 10/27/14
    Working on healing in Columbus, Ohio!

  11. #116
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    112

    Back to Work

    I went back to work this past Monday at almost 12 weeks postop. Actually I cheated and went in the previous Thursday to see how the drive was and to attend an hour long staff meeting to catch up and get ready for Monday activities. That worked out well as I got to say 'hi' to a lot of people, and my boss, who wasn't convinced I should come back so soon so she could see me and be reassured.

    I'm working 50% for a month before I return full time and I'm really glad I am doing this. I was pretty sore by the end of Monday - I think it was mostly too much walking. I logged my miles with my phone and put in 5 miles at work before my battery died. I work at a University and needed to visit several departments but had no idea I walked that much at work. I worked Tues afternoon and then all day Thursday. I took long afternoon naps on my days off.

    The timing was right for me and I'm glad I'm back. It was getting stressful to sit at home bored and worrying about how things were going at work since I manage a department. But it's good to have rest days still. I did decide I really needed a back up camera for my car to be safe and also to keep myself from twisting. It cost $300 to have it installed at a car stereo place and it is the best money I have ever spent.
    Before 39* lumbar at age 18, progressed to 74* lumbar and 22* thoracic age 55
    ALIF Jan 13, 2015, PLIF Jan 15, 2015 with Dr William Stevens, Honor Health
    Fused T-7 to S-1 with pelvic fixation

    After 38* lumbar

    Xrays
    Before: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...7&d=1414268930

    After: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...6&d=1424894360

  12. #117
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,551
    You have made great strides in your recovery! You are one of the lucky ones, no doubt.

    My neighbor is going in for his revision next week due to MAJOR pain from his 02/17/15 surgery. He had 1 lumbar level done. It seems that I know more single level fusion people in misery, than here on the scoli forums. They are all my neighbors.

    Do try to be careful.....technically, your still quite early and surprises and setbacks can be incredibly painful.

    It is possible to log 10 miles in a 8 hour shift in a 10,000 sq foot building.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  13. #118
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by titaniumed View Post
    You have made great strides in your recovery! You are one of the lucky ones, no doubt.

    Ed
    I feel fortunate indeed but i believe that learning from everybone's experiences put me in a much better position to manage recovery. But like you say, much of it was luck. And the better I feel, the harder it is to behave and I know I am far from being out of the woods.

    Anyway, I couldn't find a lot of posts about returning to work, so I wanted to share my experience. I think when people recover and go back to work, they drop off the board and get on with life.
    Before 39* lumbar at age 18, progressed to 74* lumbar and 22* thoracic age 55
    ALIF Jan 13, 2015, PLIF Jan 15, 2015 with Dr William Stevens, Honor Health
    Fused T-7 to S-1 with pelvic fixation

    After 38* lumbar

    Xrays
    Before: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...7&d=1414268930

    After: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...6&d=1424894360

  14. #119
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Grove City, OH
    Posts
    275
    Liz, I love my back-up camera, too! I'm glad you've figured out how to manage working. Your recovery is amazing!
    Peg
    61 yrs old
    75 degree lumbar curve with thoracic kyphosis
    T3 - S1 surgery with Dr. Buchowski in St. Louis, on 10/27/14
    Working on healing in Columbus, Ohio!

  15. #120
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by Lizardacres View Post
    I feel fortunate indeed but i believe that learning from everybone's experiences put me in a much better position to manage recovery. But like you say, much of it was luck. And the better I feel, the harder it is to behave and I know I am far from being out of the woods.

    Anyway, I couldn't find a lot of posts about returning to work, so I wanted to share my experience. I think when people recover and go back to work, they drop off the board and get on with life.
    Hi, Liz -

    Sounds like you are having a remarkable recovery! I kind of dropped off the board for a couple of months. Life got busy, plus I forgot my password. LOL I have been thinking of you and everyone else since I've been gone.

    Returning to work has been hard for me. I can only sit now for about four or maybe five hours, with frequent breaks to get up and walk. I would like to be able to say that I'm doing this five days a week, but I'm not. My lumbar area was really a mess preop - so much so that I got a third rod on the left side which is "dominoed" to the left rod. I call it my third rail. LOL My doctor says that sitting is what will be hard now, and he's right. Preop, I could sit for hours but couldn't walk for any length of time.

    The Catch 22 of my recovery so far (at the five month and three day mark) is that the more I do, the more pain I have, which means more meds. We are trying to wean DOWN the meds, so that means less activity for me. I was big into yoga and meditation preop. In fact, I couldn't not have managed my pain preop without them. I find it very difficult to meditate now, which I'm sure is medication related. My concentration is shot now. It has been hard to go back to work because I'm easily distracted no matter if I am working from home or at the office. It has been easy to give up while in the office and just come home. Long story short, I'm not pushing myself as much postoperatively as I did preoperatively. My strength and stamina are not what they used to be.

    It's 6:30 p.m. here and I haven't had a single med today other than vitamins. Hopefully, I can get on the treadmill a bit later. I prefer to walk outside, but the visual of the treadmill helps keep me focused. I do have a pedometer, but there is something about watching that little dot on the treadmill go 'round that keeps me going. That's what the yoga always did for me - to push myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. I'll take motivation anywhere I can get it. LOL

    Keep up the good work - I think you are amazing. (smiles)

    Hugs to you!

    Fifa

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